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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

MARXIST    HISTORY

history that constantly surprises one with new things.
The Marxists, therefore, though they did not invent it,
have appropriated a formula which enables them to
arrive at the real complexity of history a little sooner
than those who follow unconsciously a more directly
linear view of historical development. Readers of
history in this country often fall unawares into heresies
more serious than those of the Marxist at any rate in this
respect.

Of the conflicts or the tensions that exist in any given
society at any moment, the Marxists would maintain
that'' there is something particularly significant in the
tension between social classes. Once again they are
not the discoverers of the idea, which has ancient
antecedents ; but they are responsible for much of the
currency which has come to be given to it in modern
historiography. It is difficult to deny the general
thesis; for when we study the narrative of cities or
nations, when we analyse the Reformation conflicts or
the history of the institution of monarchy, when we
examine even great transitions in intellectual history,
we can hardly avoid being impressed by the evidence of
its applicability. It would nowadays be a natural
tendency in an historian, approaching an important
episode in the past, to make clear to himself the general
framework of the society in which the events were
taking place. The chief contribution of the Marxists
has been that they, more than anybody else, have taught
us to make our history a structural piece of analysis—
something which is capable of becoming more profound
than a piece of ordinary political narrative. Instead of

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